Baseball teams splits with NJC

STERLING, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team stayed within two games of the final playoff berth with a split of Northeastern Junior College on Sunday in Sterling, Colo.

The Cougars dropped the first game on Sunday 18-6, but came back in the nightcap and put up 12 hits and eight runs in capturing the 8-3 win.

The Cougars moved to 6-13 in Empire Conference play, just two wins behind No. 4 Trinidad State Junior College's 8-15 record. Both teams are 11 ½ games behind conference leader Lamar Community College. The Cougars still have 11 conference games remaining, including a four-game series with Lamar at Lamar this weekend, two games with Northeastern at home, and five games with McCook Community College.

The second game victory was huge for the Cougars and sophomore pitcher Nick Vanthillo went the distance in getting the Cougars the victory. Vanthillo scattered 10 hits, but only allowed three to cross home plate. The sophomore from Belgium walked just one and struck out nine NJC batters.

Offensively, the Cougars' bats came alive, scoring runs throughout the contest. WNCC finished with 12 hits, including five players finishing with multiple hits. Oswaldo Gonzalez led the way with two hits, three RBIs and a run scored. Gonzalez got the scoring started with a 2-run home run down the leftfield line in the first inning.

WNCC never let up scoring runs, plating three more runs in the fourth on four singles, including a 2-run single by Anthony Delgado for a 5-0 lead.

After NJC scored a run to break up the shutout, WNCC came right back and plated two more runs in the fifth on four more singles, including run-scoring singles by Alex Michaud and Zach Ostergard.

WNCC continued finding holes in the Plainsmen outfield with another run in the sixth as Gonzalez singled in Delgado.

Besides Gonzalez' big game, Delgado, Ostergard, JT Core, and Pablo Garcia each finished with two hits each. Delgado and Ostergard each had two RBIs, while Core had the only other extra base hit with a double.

WNCC also played well for the first two innings of the opening game, holding a 3-2 lead after scoring three runs in the second on just two singles by Delgado and Core.

NJC came back to score three times of their own in the bottom of the second for a 5-3 lead and then put the game away with an 11-run third inning that included six hits and three home runs for a 16-3 lead.

Grant Rimington took the loss on the mound, going three innings in allowing 12 hits and 16 runs. The Gering High School graduate gave up just four earned runs while striking out one, walking four and giving up five home runs.

WNCC finished with seven hits in the contest. Core and Delgado each went 2-for-3 in the game.

WNCC, 13-28, is slated to host McCook Community College on Wednesday, weather depending. After that, the Cougars will travel to Lamar Community College for a four-game series this weekend.

First Game

WNCC 030 21 – 6 7 6

NJC 23(11) 2x – 18 13 2

LP – Grant Rimington.

Second Game

WNCC 200 321 0 – 8 12 3

NJC 000 110 1 – 3 10 2

WP – Nick Vanthillo; 2B – JT Core; HR – Ozwaldo Gonzalez.

Empire Conference Standings
Team Conf. Overall Conf. Games Left

Lamar 20-4 37-10 6

NJC 16-7 28-19 7

Otero 13-12 22-24 5

Trinidad 8-15 18-21 7

WNCC 6-13 13-28 11

McCook 3-15 17-23 12

Sunday's Results

Otero 5, Trinidad 4

Otero 6, Trinidad 5

NJC 18, WNCC 6


Lamar 3, McCook 1

McCook 6, Lamar 5

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